Fifty U.S. senators wrote a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, urging him to officially call on the Washington Redskins to change their name.
The group, which comprises half the U.S. Senate, called for action in the wake of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life after his racist rant was caught on tape.
The senators referred to the “Redskins” name as a “racial slur,” and suggested the NFL was on the “wrong side of history.”
“The NFL can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is. We urge the NFL to formally support a name change for the Washington football team,” the senators wrote in their letter.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) circulated the letter. It was signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has spoken out extensively on the issue over the past few months. All of the senators who signed the letter were Democrats or indepedents. No Republicans participated in the effort.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been defiant on changing the name and repeatedly referred to the controversy as a non-issue.
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